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Telegram from Abraham Lincoln to Governor Edwin D. Morgan, July 3, 1862

Telegram from Abraham Lincoln to Governor Edwin D. Morgan
New York State Archives, NYSA_A4149-78_B3_V7_p111
 
Document Description
Telegram from Abraham Lincoln to Governor Edwin D. Morgan. Lincoln, having requested 300,000 troops from New York, pressed Morgan to send as many troops as he could, as quickly as possible. Noting that time was of the essence, he promised Morgan that the more quickly he was sent the troops, the more likelihood there would be of the Union winning the Civil War quickly, ensuring the survival of more of the soldiers, July 3, 1862.
 
Transcription
To: Gov Morgan                                                     By Telegraph from Washington
                                                                           July 3 1862
Private and Confidential. My Dear Sir. I should not
want the half of three hundred thousand (300,000) new troops
if I could have them now if I had fifty thousand (50,000)
additional trrops here now I believe I could
substantially close the war in two weeks but time
is everything & if I get fifty thousand (50,000)
new men in a month I shall have lost twenty
thousand old ones during the same month
having gained only thirty thousand (30,000)
with the difference between old &
new troops still against the quicker
you send the fewer you will have to
send. Time is everything. Please act in
view of this. The Enemy having given up
Corinth it is not wonderful that
he is thereby enabled to check as
for a time at Richmond.
                         Yours Truly
                           A. Lincoln
 
Questions
Who wrote this document?
When was this document written?
Why was this document written?
 
Historical Challenges
Choose another state in the Union and research the contributions that state made to the Civil War.
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
Science and Technology: Research the telegraph and explain how this technology revolutionized communication in the 19th century.
 

About this Activity

 

Lesson Topic:

 

Historical Context
New York State's contribution to the Union cause in the Civil War was extraordinary, despite deep divisions among the state's populace. The state enlisted 448,000 troops, suffered 46,534 casualties, and raised 150 million dollars for the Union war effort. All exceeded the contributions of any other state.

More than 200 New York infantry, cavalry, and artillery units served in the war and collectively saw action in nearly every campaign. A host of New Yorkers distinguished themselves through military and public service during the war. While the state's leader ship pulled together to raise enormous levels of volunteers and funds for the cause, longstanding divisions rendered this process very difficult at times.

In New York as in the rest of the Union, support for the policies of President Lincoln and even the war itself rose and fell with the fortunes of the Union army. New Yorkers disagreed over what they felt was the true purpose of the war. Support for the Emancipation Proclamation was far from unanimous and the conscription act passed by Congress in March of 1863 caused deep resentment in the state. Desertions were not at all uncommon.

Class, ethnic, and racial tensions, as well as opposition to the draft came to a head with the New York City draft riots of July 1863. The riots resulted in the deaths of 119 and the wounding of over 300 persons. Property damage was estimated at roughly one million dollars. Still in the end, the state raised twenty-three ethnic regiments, dominated by individuals of German and Irish descent, as well as three regiments of African American troops.

Despite the outcome of the Civil War, social conflicts and inequities that existed within New York prior to the war endured well into the future. Still, New York's economy grew, industrialization of the state proceeded, wages increased, and the city of New York assumed its place as the financial center of the nation.

 
Essential Question
How do governments raise an army?
How does war impact local communities?
How does war impact the relationship between federal and state powers?
 
 
Check for Understanding
Identify the main idea of this telegram and explain how Lincoln intended to raise an army.